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Ted Nasmith: A World of Dreams and Nightmares Leo

Click for Large Version
Nasmith's Rivendell
On September 20th
Chalk Farm Gallery opened their doors for a selected crowd to celebrate the opening of already the fourth exhibition of works by Ted Nasmith, one of the most renowned Tolkien illustrators around. Arriving at the Gallery a little bit late due to a delay at the airport I was immediately greeted by Gandalf, or at least he looked like Gandalf but of course there’s only one Ian McKellen and this wasn’t him.

The exhibition itself was truly great, there was some seriously awesome artwork hanging on the walls here some of which we have already seen and other new, material. Of course there were the great detailed paintings of ‘Rivendell’ and ‘Minas Tirith at Dawn’ and other ‘famous’ works like The Bridge of Khazad-dum and several paintings from the illustrated version of ‘The Silmarilion’ which got released in 1998 by Harper Collins such as ‘Turin Slays Beleg’, ‘The Ships of the Faithful’ and a painting which features Tuor and two Elves descending a flight of stairs of which I can’t remember the name. And of course there was much, much more, both paintings and studies (which are like painted sketches).

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Nasmith's Minas Tirith at Dawn

One thing that almost immediately struck me was the difference in viewing these paintings in real life and watching at pictures of them online. I, like most of you I guess, am used to looking at the pictures in Rolozo’s gallery but they don’t even come close to the real thing (especially the Rivendell painting was amazing). Of course the big idea of this exhibition was to sell paintings so everyone had a little pricetag around it, and just to give an indication; the cheapest thing I saw (but I could have missed a few) was a study of a scene which featured Boromir standing behind Frodo at Amon Hen which cost 365 English pounds, normal paintings were usual over two thousand pounds, and I was even more surprised when I heard that some people that attended the opening bought three or four paintings at once that night, I felt so poor...

So what else was there to do except looking at paintings all night? Well, the food and (Dutch) beer was free which is always a good thing and there were plenty of nice people to talk to. I spent some time talking to TheOneRing.net regular PippinSkywalker who, although she was just a little late, did get to film the entire thing and do a great interview with Ted himself, look for this footage on TheOneRing.net digital in the near future, also it was fun talking to all the nice people who work at the gallery and, for the occasion, were dressed up as characters from LOTR, I didn’t see any Hobbits though, I wonder why...

I also got to spend some time talking to a very nice man from The Tolkien Society, I however didn’t catch his name but I know he visits this site. As it turned out this weekend (the weekend of September 22nd) was also the weekend for the annual Oxenmoot in Oxford, and it sounded pretty interesting but unfortunately I couldn’t attend, I hope they had a great time though. And of course there was Ted Nasmith himself, who was there all night talking to people, signing everything that came in front of him and still finding the time to star in what I think was one of the coolest events of the entire night.

I think it was about half way through the evening when a certain Casper Reiff took the ‘stage’ he’s a musician and I think a good friend of Ted Nasmith ‘cause he flew in especially for the opening night. He played a few beautiful songs inspired on Tolkien’s works on his guitar (there was no singing, just the music) for us (they truly were great, if he has a cd out somewhere please let me know!). But then after three ‘songs’ he told us he and Ted had been working on a song from Tolkien’s book and that even though they didn’t rehearse it they were going to perform it live right now. It was a version of ‘When Evening in the Shire was Grey’ composed and sung by Ted himself accompanied on guitar by Casper Reiff and this really was the highlight of the night for me! It seems Ted can’t only draw exceptionally well but is also a great singer/composer as well, New Line might want to contact him about the soundtrack...

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Nasmith's Balrog

At the end of the night I got the chance to ask Ted some questions (but only after PippinSkywalker pretty much asked him all I wanted to ask him as well, expect the interview with Ted on TORNdigital as well) and got some surprising answers. It appears Ted did get asked by New Line to work alongside John Howe and Alan Lee on The Lord of the Rings but that he in the end decided not to do it, not being able to do the work New Line offered him at home and due some other factors. But I don’t think that’ll put him entirely out of work for the next few months ‘cause he does get to do the Tolkien calendars for the coming three years.

So to conclude this small report I’d have to say this was a most memorable experience, it was an honor meeting such a great and talented guy as Ted Nasmith, and I would like to thank the people from Chalk Farm Gallery for inviting me, and last but not least let me advise everyone (at the very least visitors from the London-region) to visit this exhibition, it’s definitely worth the trouble. It’ll be up in London untill the end of October and then it’ll be moved to Santa Fe, USA for another exhibition, which will also be attended by Ted Nasmith and Casper Reiff...

Rolozo Tolkien | Ted Nasmith Gallery at Rolozo| LordoftheRings.nl (Dutch site)
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